As the digital customer walks around virtually and checks out your products and services, what are you doing to make sure that they stay on permanently? Do you know their likes and dislikes? Do you understand whether they have any trouble while browsing around your website? Do you take stock of how they evaluate you compared to your competitors? Maybe marketing research can help.
Online Intercept Survey
An online intercept survey is a pop-up survey designed to intercept the online visitor and ask them to answer a few questions, as they browse around your website. Did they like the range of products available? Did the online calculator help them manage their finances? How about the font style and its impact on the ease of reading through the site? An online intercept survey can be used to ask these and similar questions, apart from gathering demographic information about your website visitor.
An intercept survey is typically administered before a website revamp is being planned or after a website has been refurbished. When administered before, the findings are used to plan the changes. When administered after, the findings are used to understand reactions to the changes and decide whether any further changes might be required.
Focus Group Research
Focus group research involves a group discussion where issues of interest - such as preferences, attitudes and opinions as they pertain to the products and services that you are offering - are discussed with a sample drawn from the target audience. Multiple group discussions are usually organized for a single research study, to separately speak to groups representing different demographic categories. You can use these sessions to understand how you can improve their online purchase experience.
A group setting is also used to develop new ideas or concepts or to even come up with names for different sections of your website. Focus group research can be used at any stage of you business - to plan a new digital experience, evaluate an existing one or test the viability of a new product proposition.
During usability testing an interview is conducted with one or a few respondents, who represent your target audience, as they browse your website or use an online tool that you have created for them. Respondents are asked to perform tasks online to identify their level of ease or specific areas where they fumble while trying to complete a task. Do they understand how to fill in their credit card details, for example, after they have purchased a product? Can they look up a chart and identify the investment plan that best suits their needs? How about navigating from one section of your website to another section? The goal is to improve the user experience and the ease of browsing a website or using an online tool. Usability testing is typically used while a new website or online tool is being developed, as it helps to make the product more user friendly and efficient.
Eye tracking is an exercise that involves a user viewing a website or online tool, while a tracking devices records their eye movement. This user is an individual who represents your target audience. Eye tracking allows you to identify areas of your website where concentration is focused, create a map representing the gaze of an individual as they browsed your website and calculate how long it took to move from one point on the website to another point.
Eye tracking results can be used to interpret ease of navigation, understand whether a task can be completed smoothly on a website and whether important buttons or other information are being noticed by users. As a component of usability testing, eye tracking can be used while a new website or online tool is being developed. It is also used to bring about specific design improvements that have goals such as improving sales conversions from a particular product display page.
During an A/B test users of a live site are randomly divided into groups and shown different versions or prototypes of the website or tool. A/B testing is geared towards comparing the respondents' performance as they use these different versions, so that the better or more efficient design elements can be identified and used going forward. Some typical A/B tests might include adjusting the copy on a 'buy now' button to encourage better click through, testing long and short articles to see which is read more or adjusting navigation to increase time spent on the site.
A card sorting exercise involves respondents, who represent your target audience, sorting and organizing cards into groups of subject areas or topics as they see appropriate. For this exercise, a list of approximately fifty topics are made to represent the planned or potential content of your website. Cue cards are taken and one topic is written on each card. Each respondent is asked to organize the cue cards into groups according to the similarity of topic areas, as intuitively recognized by the respondent. Then the website being planned follows a similar organization. Card sorting is typically conducted before a website has been designed, so that the results can feed into the design.
When conducted properly, research can open your eyes to areas of improvement that you should consider for your website or online tool. It can also help you understand your target audience better, so future developments and innovations can be planned accordingly. Research can help you offer a better product and be more profitable as well.